Flying back

As ever, the toughest time when flying back to the Outpost from the Home City is when approaching the check-in desk in the Home City International terminal. The ear first catches snippets of loud lively, usually inane, accented talk among the Outposters queuing up. Then their all being grossly dressed up and done to a tee visually registers. Then you notice their colossal suitcases, crammed with shopping from the Home City — as if this is not bloody Dubai, shopping-wise at least. Then there are the odd bits and pieces, such as screaming kids being screamed at, perfect-hair made-up peasant ladies addressing the check-in clerk in the singular of village casualness (hey, we’re all Compatridos, after all, ah?), couples losing their way inside the linearly arranged terminal.

Waiting to board the plane at the gate uneasiness grows, as you can now hear the agitated talk growing in volume and commonplace inanity, you can also see the local celebrities (back from a valedictory Home City weekend) cruising in. Moreover, once inside the plane, there will always be two or three guys shouting at someone they know (we all know each other here, right?) and have just noticed, while very short women in very high boots struggle to stuff abnormally oversized pieces of cabin luggage inside the overhead lockers.

Sometimes, upon arriving, all you want to do is rapidly escape indoors, to the somber silence of your flat, ignoring the barren and hot and humid and ugly and stinking expanse of outdoors between the pressurised plane cabin and the sanctuary of home.

Sometimes, however, like today, the day is cool and bright, the mountains look almost pretty in the distance, the sea is of many hues and colours, the barren hills north of the airport are green with ephemeral grass. So, you drive to the beach instead, abandoned and peaceful, to gaze at the grey and turquoise sea that separates you from Gaza strip, Sinai and Egypt. Sometimes, like today, this brings you peace.

3 thoughts on “Flying back

  1. As usual, I empathize.
    I would do 4 months in Oregon, 4 months of no contact with the outposters or your compatridos, get on a plane, arrive in Frankfurt/London/Amsterdam and change gate. As I walked towards the new gate I’d sometimes remember to brace myself.
    The heels were truly always beyond me; the huge bags of duty free, the enormous LV handbags – oh and the spraying of perfume by passengers testing out the duty free products, in the confined, airtight plane!
    4 months away from it all always made that Gate and airplane ride a culture shock, a homecoming, and a comedy all at the same time.
    Naturally the first thing I did when I touched ground was head to ND for a beer for a healthier form of re-acclimatization 🙂

    • Oh, yes, the perfume! How could I forget about it?

      I am not too keen on ND anymore: too crowded and too smoky. Next time, let’s try Brew: it’s pretty decent and the tea is superb.

  2. Brew? last time I was in town (end of August) it seemed to be very very shut. So I’m glad to hear that that was just a one-off.
    As for ND – you need to catch it on a Tuesday evening off-holiday season.

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